c.2013 Collings MT Carved-top Mandolin

This is a Collings mandolin made in Austin, Texas at, you know, the famous Collings shop! These instruments are well-known for being pretty much perfectly built. I've had the chance to play a similar mando (an MT-2) as well as a couple Collings guitars in the past and every instrument has felt imbued with authority and quality workmanship. You can just sense right when you pick one up that you're not going to have any trouble taking them to gigs and beating on them regularly over decades of use...

This one was sent to me for resale all the way from Washington (state) by an instrument acquaintance of mine who'd purchased it in Spring this year and never quite bonded with it. You know how that goes -- it's the reason there are many different instruments for many different players. That said, in three days of playing it here, I've 100% bonded with it (ouch!) so I'm going to be picking it up from him directly.

He's also sent me a gorgeous Collings koa uke that'll pop up in the next blog post.

The MT is the Collings base carved-top, A5-style mandolin and this one is finished in the (lovely) honey blonde color. Unlike many of these that have gloss tops, this one is satin-finished throughout and that's a plus for me. I like new instruments to have that smooth, clean feel of a good modern satin finish rather than the more plastic-y feel of a bright glossy finish. That's just personal preference, though.

Everything about this mando is crisp, clean, and well-executed. It's got the long Gibson scale and 14-fret neck join which makes this decidedly modern in tone and feel, though the neck carving is so extremely close to Gibson norms from the late 20s that it feels like "home base" to someone like me who's gotten used to that feel over time.

Speaking of tone... it's definitely got that bluegrass sort of bark and strut but with more of a dark mwah and complex overtone sequence to each note. I can tell it'll be raging for swing and jazz styles just as it is for folk and classical styles.

The "haircut" headstock shape is a nice nod to traditional looks.

Unlike an original Gibson-style board, this one is radiused ebony and feels great.

There's no room to complain about the build quality. It's just... clean.

The tailpiece is vintage-looking but far more practical and sturdy. Not to mention... there's no cover to fall off on you...

Yikes! That maple sure pops out.

...and the replica antique tuners with the black buttons... need I say any more?

The tortoise top binding looks great, too, especially against that natural-ish finish.

The green-lined, custom TKL Collings-branded case is also a nice deluxe touch, too.

Just for fun, here's a pic of Elsa and myself enjoying the mando out on our (freshly painted) porch this Monday.

1 comment:

Timmo said...

Such a classic photograph. Beautiful Elsa, gorgeous mandolin, newly-painted front porch...and fantastic dad, all in one moment.